Live from Harwich

Dan and I are in Harwich, MA on Cape Code for the week visiting with our friends Randy and Brian for a couple of days, then house sitting for them while they're at the ACC show in San Francisco. It's always a treat to be here. It's peaceful. I've yet to encounter any place that's quite like Cape Cod. Even though it's crowded this time of year, there's something clean, clear, and refreshing about the air. The guys have also made such a wonderful home for themselves. It's more like visiting a private garden and getting to stay the night in the quirky, beautiful craft museum/workshop that happens to be on the grounds. I guess that's what happens to avid creators and collectors: their homes become venues for presenting the collection; places to live with the art.

By coincidence Sunday was the day of one of their rare studio sales. Here's front entrance to the barn early in the morning as the frenzy of setup is just winding down. I assume that it was a frenzy. I slept through it.

Look at these amazing scarves. Of course the photo doesn't come anywhere near doing them justice. Spectacular weaving, color, composition, and texture aside, what blows me away about this particular image is presentation (I hate to say merchandising). This is spectacular wearable art hung from hooks next to the rough-hewn interior surface of the barn's interior walls. What you don't see in this picture is the rest of the room and the canopied back patio filled with scarves, dresses, vests, jackets, and more, all presented and lit in a way that creates a sense of unpretentious drama and wonder. At least for me it did.

So, while all this was going on, Dan and I made ourselves scarce so as not to be under foot while serious money-making business was being done. We went to church at Christ Church Episcopal in Harwich Port, which was small, lovely, and very welcoming. Because we were visiting they gave us a little loaf of cranberry bread. How cute is that?

Then we had a little nosh on our way to the big flea market at Wellfleet Drive-In. There were some really scary people there buying tube socks and XXXL irregular T shirts, but there was also a whole area for vintage/old/antique/junk stuff, which was pretty cool. We bought an old white painted cabinet with screened doors--most appropriate for a kitchen, but we're thinking it might get incorporated into the master bedroom or guest room redecorations planned for the coming year.

I also bought what I went there hoping to find: 2 really cool trivets to use as batik tools, and what I believe is a genuine wooden tjap (also for applying batik wax to fabric), although the vendor said she thought it was for block printing wallpaper. Either way I'm delighted. The tjap (shown at left below) is about 5" x 6". One of the trivets is shown on the right


We had lunch at Clem & Ursie's in P'town (fish place out on Shankpainter Road). Dan has had his lobster roll fix, although there will probably be a need for another later this week. This place is expensive for what you get, but the food is undeniably delicious. After lunch we had a little stroll down part of Commercial Street before heading back to Harwich. I love P'town and miss it, but I think I might really be missing what it used to be like.

P'town was the place where two guys or two women could hold hands walking down the street and be greeted by smiles, even an occasional lusty grin, but never a look of scorn. It used to be a sort of gay sacred ground. Now, there's a tourist trolly that runs families around for 40-minute tours, and auto traffic is restricted on Commercial for part of the day. I can only assume that's to address the problem of double-wide strollers that don't fit on the sidewalk. The place hasn't lost it's gay people, but it seems to have lost some of its edge. It's even like this at night. I know it makes me sound old, but I remember when the families fled at sundown because they were afraid their kids would see a man in a dress, some guy with his bare ass hanging out of leather chaps, or two women kissing. Assimilation may not be all it's cracked up to be.